U.S. Soccer Unveils WNT Animated, Presented by Ritz

Animated Videos Feature 18 Stories from the Players Who Will Represent the USA in Brazil

CHICAGO (July 18, 2016) – As the anticipation and excitement continues to build for the 2016 Olympic Games where the U.S. Women’s National Team will look to repeat as gold medalists, U.S. Soccer has released a new video series titled “WNT Animated, Presented by Ritz.”

The videos feature the 18 players and personalities of the 2016 Olympic Team, highlighting one-of-a-kind stories in animation form.

The exclusive video content featured on ussoccer.com and U.S. Soccer’s YouTube page profiles all 18 members on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer Team roster, plus a 19th episode featuring head coach Jill Ellis. The series was produced in conjunction with Chicago-based Calabash Animation.

Through the series, fans will hear a story from each of the player’s pasts that occurred on their journey to represent the United States in the Olympic Games, with the goal of the animated tales being relatable to fans of all ages while providing some laughs and valuable life lessons along the way.

In support of the animated series launch, there will be unique graphics and social media support throughout this week in advance of the USA’s final send-off match prior to the team’s departure for Rio. The USA will take on Costa Rica on July 22 in Kansas City, Kansas (8 p.m. CT on ESPN). Tickets for the Olympic send-off match at Children’s Mercy Park can be purchased here.

The U.S. will open Group G play on Aug. 3 - two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremony - against New Zealand (7 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte. The USA will stay in Belo Horizonte to face France at Mineirão Stadium on Aug. 6 (5 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Colombia on Aug. 9 (6 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at the Amazônia Stadium in Manaus, the same arena in which the U.S. Men’s National Team tied Portugal 2-2 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the furthest soccer venue from Rio (more than 1,700 miles).

The U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team has advanced to the gold medal game of every Olympic

women’s soccer tournament that has been contested. The USA won the inaugural gold medal in 1996 in Athens, Ga., won silver in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, and will be going for its fourth straight gold medal after standing atop the podium in Athens, Greece in 2004, in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012.

2015 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Roster: 
GOALKEEPERS (2):  Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC) 
DEFENDERS (6):  Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City) 
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash),Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC),  Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC),  Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) 
FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit),  Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)